Dog Obesity

Similar to us, when a dog consumes too much food and doesn’t get sufficient exercise, they are undoubtedly going to put on weight. It cannot be overemphasized how important it is to address this problem should your dog become overweight. Just like us, excess weight or obesity can lead to whole range of health problems. Unlike humans however, the problems caused by obesity can occur much quicker in dogs.

WeighingIdentifying Obesity
If a dog has excessive body fat this can produce increased amounts of pressure on their muscles and joints, which means there is an increased risk of developing arthritis. Carrying this extra weight can also substantially increase the likelihood of them developing heart problems or diabetes. If you are in any doubt as to whether your dog is overweight or not, there are three very basic signs you should look for. Firstly, you should be able to easily feel your dogs ribs by exerting very little pressure with your hands. Secondly, you should be able to look at your dog from the side and see their belly tucked up behind their rib cage. Thirdly, you should be able to stand over your dog, look down and see a definite waist towards their hind quarters.  If your dog is overweight you will find difficulty in feeling their ribs without using excess pressure.

Even though excessive weight could be the manifestation of many other health issues, the probability is that your dog is simply being overfed.  To be sure however, it is advisable to seek advice from a vet.

Tackling Obesity
If your dog is overweight, don’t suddenly do anything too radical. The first thing you should do is take a look at their feeding schedule. For example, If you are feeding them twice a day, it is advisable to cut that down to once per day. Of course, this advice would not apply to the feeding of puppies who should be fed three times a day for the first six months, then twice a day until they are one year old, and thereafter once per day. With some larger breeds of dog however, they can be fed twice daily, with smaller portions, in order to avoid bloat from occurring.

Some owners wrongly assume that for older dogs (12 months plus) that are being fed only once per day, they should increase the quantity of food to compensate. Unlike puppy food, the food being fed to adult dogs will fill them up much more than the puppy food did when they were being fed two or three times a day.

The Importance of Exercise
It goes without saying that one of the most important things for your dogs health, apart from a healthy diet, is proper and adequate exercise. Most healthy dogs will have plenty of energy to burn and will therefore need good exercise, but some breeds of dogs will require much more exercise than others.

At this point it is worth stressing that when you make the decision to increase your family with the addition of a dog, you really have to consider what breed of dog will best suit you. If, for example, you live in a property with little or no garden and there are no suitable open areas where you can exercise your dog, then it would not be advisable to have a breed of dog that will require a lot of exercise. On the whole, smaller breeds of dog tend to need relatively less exercise.

No matter what breed of dog you have, feeding them a good healthy diet and giving them plenty of exercise is the best way to ensure that they remain an active member of your family for as long as possible.

 

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